Cyclists of London, get with the programme. Because two-wheeled travel has changed. And we must never call it 'cycling' again.
A fortnight ago London launched the first of two brand new initiatives. Lots of bits of pavement painted blue, and some narrow strips down the side of roads where saddle-weary commuters can feel safe. They're cheap, they're simple, they're the very future of safety-tastic transport corridors. And they're called Barclays Cycle Superhighways. Please, oh please, Londoners get the name right.
These are not Cycle Superhighways, these are Barclays Cycle Superhighways, and the sponsor's name is ever so important. Barclays did bugger all to design and generate these souped-up cycle paths, but they made their impact in a much more important way. They persuaded somebody in City Hall to paint all the Cycle Highways Barclays-blue, thereby generating a permanent bank-brand advert in full public view. And they stumped up wads of cash, thereby protecting valuable core services elsewhere in the Greater London area. Rah rah Barclays, we love you for that, and your name shall be associated with the noble art of cycling in perpetuity.
Then came Barclays Cycle Hire, a radical scheme appearing on a street corner near you. Rows of bright blue bicycle bays, filled with Barclay-branded bikes which anyone can borrow to nip around central London. Again the shade of blue precisely resembles that of the erstwhile financial institution, because we must not forget by whose good grace these two-wheeled saviours have been provided. For Londoners shall never log into TfL's Cycle Hire website, only ever the Barclays Cycle Hire website. It's only proper, and it's only right. Thank you Barclays, your eco-credentials are well secure on this one.
Now you can ride around central London with a broad grin on your face, and a whopping big banking advert across your rear wheel. Plus another banking advert on the front of the basket, and more on the central metalwork, to ensure that good old Barclays get proper recognition no matter what angle a passer-by might be passing by. Because central funding is so old hat. In the bold blue future, no public initiative is complete with the explicit support of big business. Taxpayers can't be seen to fund this sort of thing, there's a recession on, so sponsorship and advertising are the only morally acceptable options forthwith.
So we're proud to announce that, as of next week, uttering the words 'cycling' and 'bicycle' will be prohibited within the Greater London boundary. Use of sponsor-friendly terminology will become mandatory for all things two-wheeled. Londoners will no longer have bicycles, they'll have 'BarclayBikes'. And they won't go cycling any more, they'll go 'Barclays Cycling'. We might even shorten that to Barclaycling once you've got the hang of it. Honestly, this'll become second nature before long, and you won't even notice this imposed alteration to your vocabulary.
"Good sir, what is that fine white steed upon which you ride?" "Why, that's my BarclayBike. I picked it up at the Barclays Cycle Hire docking station, and now I'm off for a spot of Barclaycling down the Barclays Cycle Superhighway."
Londoners take heed, because we'll be rigidly enforcing this new financial-friendly language with on-the-spot fines for slips of the tongue. Our sponsor deserves respect, and we're determined to deliver. Wonder not what possible connection there could be between bike-riding and a major banking organisation. Don't waste your time trying to link free markets with free wheeling. Just go green by turning blue. Think once, think bike, think Barclays.